Search

London 2012: Beach babes bring it

09:39 30 July 2012

Great Britain

Great Britain's Zara Dampney (right) hugs team mate Shauna Mullin during their women's beach volleyball match against Canada at Horse Guards Parade

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Great Britain’s Zara Dampney and Shauna Mullin fed off the energy of a passionate Horse Guards Parade crowd to get their Olympic beach volleyball campaign off to a winning start last night.

The home pairing overcame Canadian rivals Marie-Andree Lessard and Annie Martin in a deciding set - 17-21, 21-14, 15-13 - after a contest which had the watching spectators enthralled.

And victory gave the duo a big lift going into their next match against Italians Greta Cicolari and Marta Menegatti.

Dampney said: “We knew what we needed to do and we just had to remain calm, keep the communication there and take each point as it comes.

“I lived every point and all the ups and downs. We were a little bit nervous at the start and needed to keep building after the first set.

“We just needed to remain calm and then we won the second set and took it into the third set.

“It was the most unbelievable experience and we can’t wait to do it again.

“Obviously with everyone behind us we’re playing for 15,000 people! A crowd like that definitely makes a difference, gets you that one more block, one more dig, definitely makes you serve tougher.”

Mullin added: “We had to make it a dramatic one!

“It was really enjoyable to win our first match. The Canadians really put up a good fight and made us work really hard for it.

“It’s amazing for beach volleyball, which isn’t a big sport in the UK, to be right in the centre of London in one of the best locations in the Olympics.

“For us personally it’s amazing to see the London skyline and know we’re in the heart of London.”

The 15,000-capacity venue was certainly an impressive sight, as one turned off The Mall.

London had been hit by a heavy shower mid-afternoon, but that could not dampen the enthusiasm of those in attendance, with long queues forming at the beer tents.

The announcer kept everyone’s spirits up inbetween points and during the technical timeouts, when ‘The Rakers’ would come on to rake around the edges of the court to keep the sightlines prominent - to a backing of the Benny Hill theme tune.

The Horse Guards Parade Dance Crew would also hit the sand at breaks in play, clad in swimsuits, to entertain the crowd and the choice of music throughout the day was fairly apt - if not particularly politically correct.

‘I see you baby (shakin that ass)’ by Groove Armada got air time, along with ‘Sexy and I know it’ by LMFAO, which includes the provocative lyric ‘Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle’.

But to play ‘Fat bottom girls’ by Queen was a bit too tongue-in-cheek by the DJ.

I had hoped to see Hornchurch’s Lucy Boulton competing in this event this summer, but the former Abbs Cross pupil and partner Denise Johns just missed out on a wild card at the final hurdle in the Contintental Cup last month.

Dampney and Mullin took GB’s host nation spot as the higher-ranked pairing and they ran out to a rapturous reception, despite the evening gloom.

After conceding the first few points of their match, they prompted wild cheers when finally getting on the scoreboard themselves with two fine hits from Mullin.

The digital scoreboard flashed up supportive phrases such as ‘Boom!’ and ‘Powerful spike!’ after winning shots, as well as ‘Monster block’ following good work at the net.

‘Sandstorm’ greeted another outstanding piece of skill on the court, while a catchy Mexican-style tune prompted ‘Oles’ from the crowd throughout, despite being huddled under umbrellas for most of the session.

Beach volleyball has certainly arrived in London with a bang - and it would be great to see it come back on a regular basis in future, maybe even as part of the World Tour?

0 comments

Latest Islington Sports News

12:00
Rugby league player Aston Stephenson

There aren’t too many boys who grow up in north London and go to university in rugby union’s heartland – and then become rugby league internationals.

10:00
Middlesex batsman Nick Gubbins

While it may be a cliché, to get a first-class hundred for the first time at Lord’s – the home of cricket – was an absolute dream come true.

Yesterday, 17:14
St Aloysius' RC College U14s won the ESFA PlayStation Cup at the Madejski Stadium, Reading

Left-back Prosper Keto headed in the only goal at Reading’s Madejski Stadium as St Aloysius’ Under-14s collected their first national 11-a-side trophy for 16 years.

Yesterday, 16:52
Summer Eytle-Rock (left) of Activities4U U12s

Summer Eytle-Rock produced another big game for Activities 4U Under-12s as the Islington side defeated Hackney Jedis 26-14 to book their place in the Community Basketball League play-off semi-finals.

Yesterday, 16:52
Beth Potter (right) is pursued by her British rivals Kate Avery and Jessica Andrews (second from left), who eventually won the race on the Parliament Hill athletics track. Pic: Mark Shearman

Former world record-holder Dave Bedford says Highgate Harriers’ Night of the 10,000m PBs is a “fascinating event” which is “of great value” to the world of athletics.

Yesterday, 13:27
Hornsey spinner Johnny Fawcett (left) exchanges high fives with Sam Solia

Hornsey spinner Johnny Fawcett blew away the Indian Gymkhana batting with the division’s first six-wicket haul of the season to put his side top of the Division Two table.

Yesterday, 12:46
Regent Rovers captain Ryan Bruce lifts the Invitation Cup

Abo Eisa followed up his Islington Gazette Cup final hat-trick with a double as Regent Rovers beat Islington Admiral United 3-0 to secure their second trophy of the season.

Yesterday, 12:28
Chris Arul hit a century for Highgate in their win over Wembley

Highgate opener Chris Arul clobbered the Wembley bowling with a century to set up his side’s first Division Two victory of the season.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe